Issue #488 - 10th August 2018
|^ WORD OF THE WEEK
^ ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Friday 10th August - A band of Vikings raiders defeated the English under Byrhtnoth, Earldorman of Essex, at the Battle of Maldon, 991. Eleanor, Fair Maid of Brittany, died, 1241. John of Bohemia born, 1296. The Swedish warship Vasa sank in Stockholm harbour 20 minutes into her maiden voyage (she would be recovered in 1961), 1628. Aviator Otto Lilienthal died, 1896. Actress Norma Shearer born, 1902. David Berkowitz was arrested in Yonkers, New York, for the "Son of Sam" killings, 1977. Boxer & wrestler Wade Barrett born, 1980. Chef & presenter Jennifer Paterson died, 1999. Saturday 11th August - The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar began, 3114 BCE. Leonidas I, King of Sparta, died at the Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BCE. Composer Joseph Schuster born, 1748. The British colony of Penang in Malaysia was established by Captain Francis Light, 1786. Writer Enid Blyton born, 1897. Engineer Jean Bugatti died while testing a racing car, 1939. Actress Hedy Lamarr & composer George Antheil were granted a patent for a communications system that became the basis for modern Wi-Fi & wireless phones, 1942. Comedian Isy Suttie born, 1978. Actor Peter Cushing died, 1994. Sunday 12th August - Egyptian queen Cleopatra committed suicide, 30 BCE. Astronomer, mathematician & historian Abraham Zacuto born, 1452. Christopher Columbus arrived at the Canary Islands on his First Voyage, 1492. Poet & artist William Blake died, 1827. Theosophist Helena Blavatsky born, 1831. Joseph Lister performed the first antiseptic surgery, 1865. Rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot born, 1963. South Africa was banned from the Olympic Games due to its policy of apartheid, 1964. Actress Lauren Bacall died, 2014. World Elephant Day. Monday 13th August - Spanish conquistadors conquered the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan after a siege, 1521. Sculptor Giambologna died, 1608. Caricaturist James Gillray born, 1756. The Convention of London between the UK & the United Netherlands was signed, 1814. Sharpshooter Annie Oakley born, 1860. Physician René Laennec, inventor of the stethoscope, died, 1863. East Germany began construction of the Berlin Wall, 1961. Singer-songwriter James Morrison born, 1984. Actor & musician Kenny Baker died, 2016. Tuesday 14th August - Duncan I of Scotland was killed in battle against Macbeth, 1040. The village of Düsseldorf was granted town privileges by Count Adolf VIII of Berg, 1288. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, born, 1473. John Davis made the first recorded sighting of the Falkland Islands, 1592. Dentist, gambler & gunfighter Doc Holliday born, 1851. American admiral David Farragut died, 1870. The UK Marine Broadcasting Offences Act came into force, making offshore pirate radio illegal, 1967. Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson born, 1969. Racing driver Enzo Ferrari, founder of Ferrari, died, 1988. Wednesday 15th August - King Macbeth of Scotland was killed at the Battle of Lumphanan, 1054. Kublai Khan's Mongolian fleet was destroyed by a "divine wind" at the Battle of Kōan, 1281. Poet Luigi Pulci born, 1421. Playwright Thomas Kyd died, 1594. The Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark, opened, 1843. Writer E. Nesbit born, 1858. The "Wow! signal" was received by the Big Ear radio telescope operated by Ohio State University, 1977. Actress Jennifer Lawrence born, 1990. Computer scientist Kateryna Yushchenko died, 2001. Thursday 16th August - Artist Agostino Carracci born, 1557. The naval Battle of Plymouth in the First Anglo-Dutch War ended inconclusively, 1652. Poet Andrew Marvell died, 1678. US President James Buchanan inaugurated the transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, 1858. John Pemberton, inventor of Coca-Cola, died, 1888. Cartoonist & animator Otto Messner, co-creator of Felix the Cat, born, 1892. Drummer Pete Best was discharged from The Beatles, to be replaced by Ringo Starr, 1962. Writer & broadcaster Ulrika Jonsson born, 1967. Actor Stewart Granger died, 1993.
^ THE WISDOM OF...
This week, William Blake, from Auguries of Innocence:To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
^ FILM QUIZ
A selection of quotations from films with a common actor or actress. Answers next issue or from the regular address.
Last issue's quotations were from films starring Christopher Lloyd:
- This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that "cellar door" is the most beautiful.
- The police are always off track with this shit! If they'd watch Prom Night, they'd save time! There's a formula to it. A very simple formula! EVERYBODY'S A SUSPECT!
- - He's a man from outer space and we're taking him to his spaceship.
- Well, can't he just beam up?
- This is reality, Greg.
- I'm the coleslaw king of the world!
- Ok, we've had some word that there is some bad red rope licorice circulating in the crowd. Please stay away from the red rope licorice. Do not bite any off or chew it. It could cause a dental emergency...
- There is something about connecting over mutual hatred that is just so much deeper than mutual love.
-- A Million Ways to Die in the West 
- I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.
-- Who Framed Roger Rabbit 
- Unit two, this is unit one. The Kobayashi Maru has set sail for the promised land. Acknowledge.
-- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock 
- Last night, Darth Vader came down from Planet Vulcan and told me that if I didn't take Lorraine out, that he'd melt my brain.
-- Back to the Future 
- That's right, Mr. Martini. There is an Easter Bunny.
-- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 
^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS
Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...
- HISTORY! A gorse fire on Bray Head, County Wicklow in Ireland has revealed a piece of history, the word 'EIRE' carved into a hillside above a cliff. During the Second World War Ireland remained a neutral country and 'EIRE' ('Ireland' in Irish Gaelic) was carved into headlands at 80 locations to notify both Allied and German pilots that they were flying over neutral territory. Although the Garda Air Support unit which first observed the sign has recorded occurrences at other locations before it is the first time that the Bray Head markings have been seen since the headland was allowed to be grown over after the war. ● The foundations of the oldest library in Germany have been discovered by archaeologists in Cologne who were excavating the site of a old Protestant church before a new church is built. The Roman library, thought to date to 2 AD, would have held up to 20,000 scrolls and was identified by niches in its walls that were too small for statues but matched ones in an ancient library excavated at Ephesus in Turkey. The new church will preserve the library's foundations. ● Analysis of strontium levels in bone fragments of humans whose cremated remains were buried at Stonehenge in Wiltshire has shown that the about 40% of the people spent their last ten or so years in the area of Wales where the bluestones used to construct the henge were excavated, suggesting that migration across the terrain between the locations was more common than previously assumed.
- NATURE! Firefighters tackling a plastic pallet blaze at a factory in Woodville, Leicestershire, have released video footage of a 'firenado', a rare occurrence where cool air combines with hot air to produce a swirling effect similar to a thin tornado, only ablaze. You can see their video here [Belfast Telegraph]. ● A tropical snake was filmed on a busy East London street last weekend, eating a dead pigeon someone had given it. It drew a crowd of people photographing and filming it, and at least one person who called the RSPCA. One of the crowd told reporters that they were not scared, because it was moving slowly and totally engrossed in its meal. The RSPCA later took it to a wildlife centre and appealed for information on how it came to be on a London street. They also confirmed that, contrary to earlier reports, it was not a python but a boa constrictor. ● A survey of 2,000 cat owners in the UK has found that many are unaware of which foods are potentially harmful to their pets, giving them bits of takeaways and leftovers as treats, and one in five are not aware that cats are carnivores, with one in ten feeding their cats raw vegetables. A fifth of cat owners have had to take their cat to the vet after it ate something it should not have, and 28% admitted that their cats had been diagnosed as overweight, diabetic or with skin conditions caused by poor diets. Another report, by John Lewis Pet Insurance, has revealed the top names given to cats & dogs in the UK, with the top three dog names being Poppy, Bella & Molly, the top three cat names Bella, Tilly & Lola.
- SCIENCE! A green comet, C/2017 S3, will make its closest approach to Earth on Tuesday, although it will be too close to the Sun to be observed. It will pass the Sun, closer than Mercury's orbit, on Wenesday, but by the time it can be seen again from Earth it will be too far away to be observed with anything less than a large telescope. The comet's coma, or 'atmosphere', contains carbon- & nitrogen-bearing molecules that emit blue-green light when hit by light from the Sun, giving the comet its green colour. It is the first time in recorded history that the comet has passed through the inner Solar system. ● A technical problem with the Kepler Space Telescope in 2013 that meant engineers could not stabilise its focus on a single area has resulted in the discovery of 44 exoplanets. Data from the wobbly Kepler and other telescopes threw up the haul of planets, some smaller than Earth, some with orbits around their stars of less than a day. Over the course of its lifetime the Kepler Telescope has found more than 2,600 exoplanets, but is now low on fuel and has been in hibernation mode in recent months. ● A lone planet drifting through space some 20 light years from Earth has been confirmed, after first being detected by the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope in New Mexico. The planet is more than 12 times the size of Jupiter & exists on the margin between being a planet and a brown dwarf, or failed star. It has a massive magnetic field and unexplained aurora glow. The planet is the first such 'rogue', not attached to a star system, to be indentified.
- PEOPLE! A couple with a combined age of 167 are set to become Britain's oldest newlyweds. Frank Bird, 88, & Muriel Kodritsch, 79, were watching Pride and Prejudice when Mr Bird proposed - "our armchairs were close together," he said, "It made it easy for me to get down on one knee." Mr Bird's first wife Renee died after 62 years together, while Ms Kodritsch's husband David passed away after 52 years of marriage, and the couple are due to be married on August 25, when Ms Kodritch will be given away by her 52-year-old son Kevin while Mr Bird's best man will be his 64-year-old son Steven, before a honeymoon on the south coast. Commenting on the timing, Mr Bird said "We didn't want a long engagement because of our age." ● Two elderly German men sneaked out of their nursing home last week to attend Whacked Open Air, the world's biggest metal music festival where acts including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, In Flames & Judas Priest were performing. Staff at the home called the police after realising the two were missing, and the men were reportedly found "disoriented and dazed" at 3am by officers at the festivals before the home arranged transport for them. A police spokeswoman said that "they obviously liked the metal festival." ● A retired couple from Aberdeenshire have won £58m ($74.75m) on the National Lottery despite their ticket being torn in two by a shop assistant. When Fred Higgins took the ticket to be checked the assistant told him that it had not won anything and tore it up before the Lottery terminal printed out a notification slip telling the holder to contact Camelot, the Lottery organisers. Fortunately the clerk had not torn through the numbers or barcode and Higgins was able to tape the ticket back together. A security team from Camelot interviewed the couple & the shop assistant, and viewed CCTV footage to validate their story before confirming their win. The couple are now planning a big wedding anniversary celebration before deciding what to do - although they are considering moving to somewhere warmer.
- CRIME! A British tourist in Dubai rented a luxury Lamborghini Huracán supercar before running up speeding fines worth 175,000 dirhans (£36,000; $47,600), triggering every speed camera on the Sheikh Zayed Road while reaching a top speed of 150mph (240 km/h). The owners of the dealership where the man rented the car told reporters from newspaper The National that the man had left his passport as a guarantee & still had the car, adding that they were not going to claim it back while the fines were outstanding as they might then become liable if the man fled the country. ● An 89-year-old German grandmother who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for publishing holocaust denial pamphlets has lost her appeal against the sentence. Her lawyers tried claiming that her statements fell under free speech, which is protected under German law, but judges ruled that the right to free speech does not protect denial of the Holocaust as "the dissemination of untrue and deliberately false statements of fact can not contribute to the development of public opinion [..]". Under German law denying the Holocaust constitutes a crime of incitement to hatred and carries a sentence of up to 5 years. ● People on the banks of the Thames in London last Friday could be forgiven for thinking they were watching a movie being filmed as Metropolitan River Police in a boat chased four people on jetskis, but it later transpired that it was for real. Sightings between Greenwich and Canary Wharf were posted to social media as the pursuit headed towards central London then, 15 minutes later, back again. The Metropolitan Police later confirmed that "the jetskis were are approaching central London [at speed] and the Marine policing unit were able to make them change their course. Following this, the decision was taken to no longer pursue the jetskis for safety reasons."
IN BRIEF: Derby grandfather grows potentially world-record-beating cucumber, 51" (129.54cm) long, although there is some debate over the variety as only standard cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) are eligible. ● Donald Campbell's record-breaking hydroplane Bluebird back on the water on Loch Fad, off Bute, after being salvaged in 2001 after crashing on Coniston Water in 1967, and restored. ● Ford giving workers in 15 car factories exosuits to help them lift heavy items with reduced risk of injury. ● Eight-foot (2.4m) lump of polystyrene washes up on Cornwall beach. ● Five £5 ($6.44) notes micro-etched with portrait of World Cup Golden Boot winner Harry Kane put into circulation by micro-engraver Graham Short, could be worth around £50,000 ($64,440) each. ● West Bromwich Albion soccer team unveil their latest mascot - a man dressed as a combi boiler - after signing sponsorship deal with boiler firm; Twitter quickly dubs him 'Boiler Man', reacts with both horror & plaudits. ● Forensic analysis of blood patterns on Turin Shroud backs up earlier carbon dating evidence that it is a fake.
TRUMPWATCH - An occasional look at the sillier items around the US president: A "verified" Donald J. Trump Twitter account was set up to scam people out of cryptocurrency; account name used Latin & Cyrillic characters similar to 'l' & 'p' to create fake account name, replied to genuine post to get air of authenticity. ● Kathleen Turner describes "creepy" Trump handshake where he stroked her wrist with one finger. ● TV chat show host Jimmy Kimmel produces climate change awareness TV ad tailored to Trump; warns of threat to gold courses & fast food supplies. ● West Hollywood City Council unanimously votes to remove Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (already partially removed by a man with a pick, see previous issue) because of his "disturbing treatment of women" & "other actions". ● Mike Pence's 1990s columns written in wake of Lewinsky scandal dug up to highlight his views on moral requirements of being President. ● Russia appoints martial arts actor Steven Seagal special representative for Russia-US humanitarian ties. ● Trump reacts to massive California wildfires by not expressing sympathy for victims but by drawing on conspiracy theories to blame environmental laws; Peter Gleick, a world-renowned expert on water supply & climate at the Pacific Institute described Trump's statement as "too stupid to rebut". ● White House staff reportedly given up on trying to make golfing trips have any semblance of working vacation days; in 2011 Trump complained that President Obama spent too much time playing golf - Trump has taken 102 golf trips in less than 500 days in office while Obama took more than 1,200 days to play as much golf.
^ ENTERTAINMENT BRIEFS
Director J.J. Abrams pays tribute to late Carrie Fisher as filming on Star Wars: Episode IX begins. ● Ai Weiwei's Beijing studio - unused but holding equipment & artwork - demolished without warning by Chinese authorities. ● Jessica Lange returning to American Horror Story for Murder House/Coven crossover Apocalypse season 8. ● Apple becomes fist public company worth over $1tn (£767bn). ● CBS in talks to renew The Big Bang Theory for 13th season. ● BBC files subpoena request in Washington court seeking to have Microsoft disclose owner of OneDrive account from which Doctor Who footage was leaked. ● Universal pulls Chris Pratt-starring Cowboy Ninja Viking from 2019 summer release. ● China blocks release of Disney's Christopher Robin because Winnie the Pooh is a symbol of dissent after leader Xi Jingping was compared to him. ● Maureen Lipman joining Coronation Street. ● Rise of streaming services cuts music piracy in UK by 8%. ● Dave Grohl releases 23-minute instrumental track, playing seven instruments. ● Epic Games to skip Google Play store with its "disproportionate" 30% cut to Google to sell Android Fortnite app direct. ● Now-teenage twins who played Ross & Rachel's baby on Friends cast in Jordan Peele thriller film Us. ● FX orders 10-episode miniseries of James Clavell's Shogun, previously adapted in 1980. ● Showtime CEO confirms reports Homeland to end with season 8. ● Unable to perform after injuring foot before the show Sir Ian McKellen gives King Lear audience impromptu question-and-answer session where, among other things he "Gandalfed twice and acted several Shakespeare scenes off the top of his head." ● Lee Pace-starring John DeLorean biopic Driven to close Venice International Film Festival. ● Lady Gaga's Las Vegas residency to comprise two shows: Lady Gaga Enigma pop show and Jazz and Piano mixing acoustic/piano versions of her songs with American Songbook classics. ● Aphex Twin music video pulled from Adult Swim after failing epilepsy trigger test. ● Pink admitted to hospital in Australia with gastric virus, cancels shows. ● Slash hints at new Guns N' Roses album. ● Johnny Depp, Forest Whitaker biopic of Notorious B.I.G., City of Lies pulled a month before release. ● Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly-starring Laurel & Hardy biopic Stan & Ollie to close BFI London Film Festival. ● Star Trek: Discovery showrunner confirms Patrick Stewart returning to franchise for Jean-Luc Picard series set 20 years after Star Trek: Nemesis. ● OpenAI bots defeat semi-pro team at Dota 2. ● Rajar figures show fewer people listening to news radio programmes, more listening to music. ● Robert Redford announces retirement from acting after next film The Old Man and The Gun. ● Ruby Rose cast as first openly LGBT TV superhero in CW Network's Batwoman. ● Sixth Terminator film photo released of three female leads Dani Ramos, Mackenzie Davis (seemingly playing a Terminator) and Linda Hamilton, returning to franchise. ● US cable TV network HGTV wins auction for The Brady Bunch house in Los Angeles, will film it being restored "to its 1970s glory". ● Some Vega+ console customers receive their devices, poorly packed & lacking instructions, charging cables, as company loses license to use ZX Spectrum name & many games, company Retro Computers Ltd under investigation for trading while insolvent. ● YouTube, Apple, Facebook drop Alex Jones' Info Wars conspiracy theory podcasts for breaching prohibited content policies. ● BBC puts ChuckleVision on iPlayer as tribute to Barry Chuckle [Obituaries, below]. ● Research shows that over half of UK adults access subscription-based streaming TV services. ● Warner Bros, DC, reportedly in early development stages for film based on Supergirl TV series.
Model Rick Genest ("Zombie Boy", 32), radio presenter Vicki Archer (BBC Radio Shropshire, voice-overs, 41), entertainer Barry Chuckle (The Chuckle Brothers, 73), chef Joël Robuchon (31 Michelin stars, once threw a plate at a stroppy apprentice called Gordon Ramsay, 73), actor Masahiko Tsugawa (Godzilla, Death Note, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, 78), actor Robert Dix (Forbidden Planet, Live and Let Die, Gunsmoke, 83), filmmaker Moshé Mizrahi (1977 foreign language film Oscar winner for Madame Rosa, 86), actress Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life, Bananas, Car 54, Where Are You?, 92).
^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!
Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:6, 14, 28, 32, 39, 48[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/dumbledore.htm.
^ AND FINALLY...
Little Jennifer's class were learning about the U.S. Presidents. "OK, children," their teacher said, "George Washington was the first President of the United States, but who can tell me who came after him?"
There was total silence in the class until one child confidently put her hand up. "Yes, Little Jennifer?"
Little Jennifer beamed confidently. "It was the second President of the United States, Miss!"
^ ...end of line